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Alouettes, Bombers both seeking first win in CFL East Division clash

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Steven Jyles is tackled by Montreal Alouettes' Shea Emry (41) during first half CFL football action in Montreal, August 19, 2010. The Alouettes and Bombers are both seeking their first win in a CFL East Division clash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL - Montreal Alouettes linebacker Shea Emry doesn't mind having only four days off before Friday night's game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Montreal.

The short turnaround will help him forget the team's 38-10 season-opening loss in Calgary on Canada Day.

''Last week there were too many mental errors,'' the Vancouver native said. ''It wasn't the Alouette football we've been used to in the past.

"I'm just glad it's a short week so we get to move on faster.''

Emry committed the game's most talked-about mistake in the second quarter when he was penalized for hitting Stampeders quarterback Drew Tate while Tate was on the ground, giving the Stampeders a first down Alouettes 17-yard line. Calgary quickly scored a touchdown to open up an 18-point lead.

The CFL fined Emry for the hit on Wednesday.

Emry declined to talk about the hit on Thursday, saying he's now focused on stopping Winnipeg quarterback Buck Pierce on Friday (TSN, 7 p.m. ET).

''It gives me a chance to redeem myself, within the rules,'' Emry said, adding that he's put last week's mistake behind him.

"This week it's Buck Pierce, who makes a lot of plays with his legs. He can get out of a lot of difficult situations. It's just for us to make sure we contain him and make some plays on the ball.''

The Blue Bombers dropped their season opener 33-16 to the B.C. Lions in a Grey Cup rematch in Vancouver on June 29. Pierce left that game with a leg injury in the second quarter after completing only three of nine passes for 11 yards. Although backup Alex Brink went 12-for 26 and 121 yards with two touchdowns in relief, Pierce is still slated to start against Montreal.

It's unclear whether the oft-injured Pierce will last the whole game, so Emry said the Alouettes are ready for either quarterback.

''Alex Brink's a great quarterback too,'' he said. ''He's made a lot of plays.

"The main thing on our plate is making plays on those guys, whoever is back there.''

There were also questions about Montreal's soon-to-be 40-year-old quarterback Anthony Calvillo after he was held to 16 completions for 174 yards and only one touchdown by Calgary. He also threw two interceptions, after giving up only eight in all of 2011.

The Alouettes defence was expected to take time to gel after several off-season roster changes. But the offence, almost entirely intact, also looked disjointed against Calgary.

It will be tested by Winnipeg's aggressive defence, which played a key role in the Bombers' East Division title last season.

''The toughest thing at the start of the year is that you have to deal with all their blitzes,'' said Calvillo. ''They don't try to confuse you much. They're just very good at what they do. And they play a lot of man-to-man.''

The Montreal defence tightened up in the second half against Calgary, forcing three turnovers. The Alouettes hope to carry that momentum into Friday night, but they will do it without defensive back Dwight Anderson, who broke his finger in practice on Wednesday. Coach Marc Trestman said Anderson will be out of action for a couple of weeks.

Montreal was already missing defensive end John Bowman and also lost rookie end Murrell Marques for two to four weeks with a shoulder injury.

The Bombers made an adjustment on offence, replacing rookie centre Chris Kowalczuk with Justin Sorensen.

The game will be special for Alouettes safety Kyries Hebert, who played for Winnipeg in 2006 and 2007 before jumping to the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. The 31-year-old spent 2010 in Hamilton but didn't play at all last season.

Hebert still has some old friends in Winnipeg, but said it will be all business against Pierce on Friday.

''I hope for great health for Buck Pierce,'' said Hebert. ''But any chance I get for anyone carrying the ball in blue and gold, they're going to get hit. That's our mentality here.''

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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